How can you be authentic and creative when you network?
Over the years networking has for me been the polar of extremes from superbly pleasurable and profitable through to boring and not one person whom I gave a card to getting back to my follow up emails/tweets etc! Hence I co-created Authentic Creative Networking – first with Alison Seddon and now with Martin Copland-Gray
So what’s the point in networking and how can you be your bright, creative and authentic self?
Eight Top tips for authentic creative networking
- Have a purpose – anything from “being myself and being honest”, “asking genuine questions and listening”, “to meet new people to boost our network”, “to secure new income generating work”, “to get a paid public speaking gig”
- Work out what you can give / offer to others – sometimes you will the one person another nervous and anxious networker is able to speak to all night. You are offering a service by listening, encouraging, hearing how you could be of service to enable their vision
- Find out who else is going to be there – asking for the list of delegates or checking out the Eventbrite guest list in advance allows you to see who is there who will most boost your creative business.
- Read up on any guest speakers, look at their photos – by the time you are there you will have given your brain the chance to think it has already met the speaker panel because of seeing the pictures in advance
- Take business cards – but if you forget them when you meet people whose information you want to keep take their email address, add it into an email which you can send once you get back from the event.
- Drink water and herbal teas – coffee, tea and booze add to any pre existing levels of anxiety about walking into a room full of new people. By drinking soft drinks you give yourself the chance to tap into your 6th sense about people when you meet and trust what you feel, hear, think and see.
- Make sure you follow up with everyone you say you will… have a pre-drafted post networking response email you can tweak to personalise to each person you met.
- Give yourself a reward for attending and all the pre and post event work you put into growing and sustaining your creative business network…
Over time ‘networking’ does get easier, and some days it doesn’t. It’s okay to feel nervous, feel a little shy… chances are each person in the room will be somewhere on the spectrum of all the feelings we humans can experience.
You are not alone…